British Prime Minister David Cameron resigns | Theresa May takes over as new UK PM | May becomes second British woman PM after Margaret Thatcher | Cameron announced resignation following Brexit, a referendum for UK's exit from EU June 23 | International Tribunal demolishes China's claims over South China Sea | Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague says China has no legal basis to claim regional waters and build islets | The Tribunal also held China guilty of damaging coral reefs and natural environment | China has border maritime problems with all its neighbours | China rejected the decision, saying it is invalid and has no binding force | India, Tanzania agree to deepen overall defence and security partnership, especially in the maritime domain | Both nations agreed to work closely, bilaterally, regionally and globally to combat twin threats of terrorism, climate change | Prime Minister visiting Tanzania in the last leg of his visit to 4 African nations July 7-11 | Boeing, Mahindra Defence open C-17 Training Centre for IAF | Terrorism is the gravest security threat facing the world today, says PM Modi during Mozambique visit | Terrorism impacts India and Mozambique equally | NASA spacecraft Juno reaches Jupiter | Juno crossed violent radiation and flew 130,000 miles/hour | Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system | Juno should be in Jpiter orbit for 20 months to send data | The $1.1 billion Juno mission took five years to reach Jupiter | LCA 'Tejas' joins Indian Air Force | Tejas is an indigenously-built Light Combat Aircraft | The single-seat, single-engine, multi-role light fighter is designed by ADA and manufactured by HAL | India test-fires new surface-to-air missile from a defence base in Balasore off Odisha coast | The new missile is jointly developed by India and Israel | Abdul Majeed Al Khoori appointed Acting CEO of the Abu Dhabi Airports | Eng. Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei becomes Advisor to the Abu Dhabi Airports Chairman | Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar hands over 'Varunastra' to Indian Navy | Varunastra is an advanced heavyweight anti-submarine torpedo | It is indigenously designed, developed and manufactured by DRDO | India officially joins Missile Technology Control Regime | With this India becomes 35th member of the MTCR | Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar signed the document of accession into MTCR in Seoul June 27 | The document was signed in presence of Ambassadors of France, the Netherlands and Luxembourg - the Chair and two co-chairs of the Regime | India had applied for the membership in 2015 | India finalises deal for 145 BAE Systems M777 artillery guns | This is Indian Army's first artillery deal in 30 years | Britain votes to leave EU, Pound crashes | 52 per cent voted Leave and 48 Remain in historic referendum | British Prime Minister David Cameron announces to resign before October over UK's exit | Leave process will take about two years though | Markets hit worldwide, including in India | China scuttles India's NSG bid | India joins SCO | India, apart from Pakistan, was admitted as full member of SCO during its Ufa Summit in July 2015 | After completing certain procedures, India now technically entered into SCO | India had an observer status for past 10 years prior to entering into six member regional bloc | No consensus on India's membership in NSG | China and five other countries oppose India's entry as New Delhi has not signed NPT | China insists Pakistan must also enter NSG if India's application is accepted | Pakistan is China's only military ally and is also known as a nuclear, missile and terror proliferator (NMTP) | Indian Space Agency ISRO successfully launches 20 satellites in one rocket | This is the biggest launch in ISRO's history | The satellites were launched onboard PSLV C-34 from SDSC (SHAR) Sriharikota | PSLV C-34 was carrying 17 satellites from US, Canada, Germany, Indonesia and 3 from India | Government of India approves 100% FDI in defence and civil aviation sectors | In defence, foreign investment beyond 49% (and up to 100%) permitted through the government approval route | This is in cases of access to modern technology in the country | For aviation, the government allowed 100% FDI in India-based airlines | The decision on FDI reforms taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Modi | India confident of getting into NSG, says External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj | India is working with China to win support | India will not oppose any country's membership proposal, EAM told a news conference |

Aerial dogfights will remain relevant forever,

says ace pilot

By Vishnu Makhijani Published : October 2007

Bareilly (Uttar Pradesh). In an era of beyond visual range (BVR) and fire-and-forget missiles, the art of aerial combat -- dogfights in military parlance -- will forever be relevant, says an ace Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot who commands a squadron of the cutting edge technology Sukhoi Su-30MKI combat jets at this sprawling frontline airbase in north India.

“It’s been proved time and again that no matter what the technology at your command, the man in the machine is paramount. Thus, the art of aerial dogfights will forever be relevant,” says Wing Commander N N Sinha.

“A BVR missile can miss its target, resulting in the pilot trying again to hit the target. This means he has to fly closer to the target and this raises the immediate possibility of aerial combat with enemy aircraft,” he told IANS in an interview here.

In this context, he noted that even the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, currently the only operational fifth generation fighter in the world, retains its guns, as do other advanced jets like the Su-30MKI, the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Boeing F/A-18 and the Lockheed Martin F-16.

“Guns take up space that could otherwise house missiles and other weapons. So why are they still there? Because the need for fighting your way out of a tricky situation could arise any time,” Wg Cdr Sinha explained.

The term dogfight first emerged during the First World War when rickety biplanes were used as mobile observation vehicles and pilots gave little thought to aerial combat and even waved at enemy pilots.

The more intrepid pilots then decided to go further by throwing grenades and even bricks at opposing aircraft. This progressed to pilots firing hand-held guns at enemy planes and once machine guns were mounted on aircraft, the era of air combat truly began.

The art has been refined over the years and reached its zenith during World War II and the Vietnam War of the 1960s and 1970s. This prompted major air forces around the world to create specialized institutions to hone the skills of their fighter pilots in the art of aerial combat.

Thus, if the US has its Fighter Weapons School at Miramar in California -- better known by its sobriquet TOPGUN -- India has the less romantic sounding Tactical and Combat Development Establishment (TACDE) at the Gwalior Air Force base at Madhya Pradesh in central India.

And for once, these two premier air forces are almost matched -- when it comes to the frontline jets they hold on their inventories. In repeated war games over the past few years, the IAF Su-30MKIs have consistently held their own against the US F-16s and F-18s, leading the US Air Force (USAF) to grudgingly admit that they are worthy adversaries.

That’s not all.

At a joint war game at Gwalior in 2006, the Su-30 repeatedly triumphed over the Royal Air Force (RAF) Tornadoes, prompting the British to field their latest acquisition, the Typhoon at the England-end of the exercise earlier this year.

By all accounts, the honours were evenly matched -- and Wg Cdr Sinha is not surprised.

“With its thrust vector engines and canards, the Su-30MKI can perform unbelievably in the air as it possesses abilities that its competitors do not,” he observed.

The thrust vector engines enable the pilot to direct the aircraft into a 180 degree vertical climb, while the canards -- rotatable winglets just behind the cockpit -- permit the aircraft to adjust to the adverse wind flow which results from such a manoeuvre. This means that the aircraft can actually stand on its tail at great heights and then snap back into a 90-degree level to continue combat.

“This gives us tremendous advantage as in normal dogfights, aircraft weave and turn, but with the Su-30, a pilot can climb vertically and literally snap back like a cobra striking,” the IAF officer explained.

Not surprisingly, therefore, Wg Cdr Sinha’s is the first squadron of Su-30MKIs that have been made fully operational at Bareilly to increase the IAF’s strategic reach against China. Another squadron of the fighters will reach a similar status here within a year, while two more squadrons will be deployed at Tezpur in Assam to guard the eastern frontiers against China.

It may be recalled that Bareilly hosted the super secret half-a-dozen Mig 25 Foxbat aircraft of the Indian Air Force till last year, when they were phased out after a glorious 25-year service. The Mig 25s flew at three times the speed of sound at 80000 to 100000 feet, or just the edge of earth’s atmosphere.

  India Strategic  
Top Stories
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Chairs Inter-State Council Meeting
Indian Warships Visit Port Kelang, Malaysia
Japanese Defense Minister Calls on Manohar Parrikar
DRDO Embarks Major Success in Advanced Artillery Gun System
Army Chief Extends Invitation to Australian Special Forces to Train with India
Mhadei Returns after Successful Completion of All Women Expedition
Ex MEGH PRAHAR: A Demonstration on Opposed River Crossing
Aerospace & Defence Executives Hunting down Growth but not at Any Cost, Says KPMG Survey
INS India Celebrates Platinum Jubilee
Indian Navy Commissions INS Karna
Boeing, Mahindra Defence Systems Open C-17 Training Centre for Indian Air Force
Slowly Indian Armed Forces Will See Larger Participation of Women, says Parrikar
Interview: Morocco Could be Hub for Indian Trade to Africa and Europe
FDI Reforms in the Defence Sector: A Fresh Round
Indian Army set to acquire Artillery Guns, Finally
Indian Armed Forces: Pace of Military Modernisation
IAF Inducts Indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft
Made-in-India Jet Fighter: Big Step in Weapons Self-reliance
INS Satpura Reaches Hawaii, US for Exercise RIMPAC 2016
India-Israel MRSAM Successfully Test Fired
 Home | Contact Us| In the Press| Links| Downloads
© 2008-14, India Strategic. All rights reserved.